Chicago to host 2024 Democratic National Convention

The last time the city hosted the convention was in 1996.

April 11, 2023, 11:02 AM

The 2024 Democratic National Convention will be held in Chicago, according to a Tuesday announcement from the Democratic National Committee.

The convention will take place Aug. 19 through 22 at the United Center and the McCormick Place Convention Center, with between 5,000 and 7,000 delegates and alternates expected to attend, a source familiar said in confirmation of what was first reported in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Chicago had been in competition with Atlanta and New York City for the seminal political gathering.

STOCK PHOTO: View of Chicago skyline at sunrise.
View of Chicago skyline at sunrise.
STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images/

The choice comes a week after Democratic victories in the Midwest, including a win for the left flank of the party with the Windy City's election of progressive Brandon Johnson last Tuesday.

"The DNC is returning to the Midwest, a critical Democratic stronghold: Illinois along with Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota -- part of the 'blue wall' -- were crucial to the 2020 victory of President Biden and Vice President Harris and to Democrats' success in the 2022 midterm elections," the DNC wrote in a statement.

The choice may also be an olive branch to Midwest progressives ahead of the coming election cycle, when South Carolina will unseat Iowa as the first state in the nation to vote on a Democratic nominee for president.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday attempted to reaffirm his commitment to the Midwest.

"Chicago is a great choice to host the 2024 Democratic National Convention," said Biden. "Democrats will gather to showcase our historic progress including building an economy from the middle out and bottom up, not from the top down. From repairing our roads and bridges, to unleashing a manufacturing boom, and creating over 12.5 million new good-paying jobs, we've already delivered so much for hard working Americans – now it's time to finish the job."

At their first public meeting as governor and mayor-elect, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker was asked by a reporter whether Johnson's win would positively impact the possibility of Chicago's selection for the 2024 convention.

"Absolutely, and in part because -- Look, he brings a real excitement to the job, I think, to the people of Chicago and, and I think that's being felt in Washington, D.C.," Pritzker said.

Johnson's campaign adviser Bill Neidhardt attributed the selection of Chicago, in part, to Johnson's election.

"The push for Chicago was a total team effort, with Governor Pritzker and Senator Duckworth doing incredible work, but there is no doubt that the excitement around Mayor-elect Johnson's victory helped clinch the deal," he said.

Leaders from Illinois and Chicago lobbied hard for the city's selection during the process, which the DNC said was "rigorous." Pritzker's pitch highlighted Illinois' progressive policy stances.

"Chicago demonstrates that we're a city that's well in a state that's pro-choice, and that's stood up for labor rights and for workers that were a state that is opposed to assault weapons. And that's not true of some of the other competitors," Pritzker said during his meeting with Johnson.

Upon the announcement, Pritzker reinforced the state's position on some of those issues.

"The 2024 Democratic National Convention in Chicago will welcome people from across the nation to an unforgettable event highlighting our party's vision for lifting up working families and those who too often have been left out and left behind," said Pritzker following the announcement. "Our great global city and its diverse communities, unparalleled hospitality, and world renowned venues shows off the best of America and its people represent the heart of our country."

"The Midwest is key to a victory in 2024, and there is no city better positioned to reach those voters than Chicago," said Senator Tammy Duckworth, D-IL, "I look forward to welcoming the world to Illinois in 2024 and showing what it looks like when we all come together to create a future built on policies that deliver for American families."

After the announcement, other Midwestern Democrats celebrated.

"Midwest Democrats know how to win big and get things done. We're working hard to deliver for working families and defend your fundamental rights. Illinois is a great, welcoming place for our diverse party to hold the convention and I've been proud to support this effort," said Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Michigan was selected to replace Iowa as the only Midwestern slate featured in the DNC's early nominating calendar for 2024. It will be the fifth state to hold its Democratic primary election, after South Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada and Georgia.

Chicago's selection was also met with some pushback from Republicans, who have long used the Windy City as a conservative dogwhistle for sky-high crime rates in Democratic strongholds.

"The DNC will be holding their 2024 convention in Chicago," Republican firebrand Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado said in a Tweet. "Will they be providing complimentary bulletproof vests?"

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel also dinged Democrats on policy in her response to the DNC's selection of Chicago.

"We look forward to the DNC's convention where their radical agenda will be on full display for the world to see. Voters will soundly reject whichever out-of-touch liberal the Democrats nominate in Chicago and instead elect our Republican nominee as the next President of the United States," she said.

The last time the DNC held its convention in Chicago was in 1996, when the party nominated then-President Bill Clinton for reelection.

Biden, viewed as the heavy favorite for the Democratic nomination, has not launched his campaign yet but said Monday that he "plan[s] on running." So far, he faces only self-help author Marianne Williamson as a long-shot challenger, with attorney and anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. expected to announce his own bid on April 19.